Let’s face it, everyone loves chicken enchiladas. I mean, what’s not to love? But, hold on to your sombrero because today there is a new dish in town. Easy, made from scratch, Tequila-Lime Chicken Enchiladas that are made with hands-down the most unbelievably delicious marinade and sauce ever.
This recipe is different from authentic chicken enchiladas and features shredded chicken marinated in tequila, lime juice, and a “secret” ingredient, brown sugar.
All of this sweet deliciousness is then wrapped up in a tortilla, along with shredded cheese. Then it’s topped with an out-of-this-world sauce, made with salsa verde, crema (a Mexican-style cream), and yes, even more cheese.
Take my word for it, this dish will make you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo all year long. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you, it all comes together quickly.
Here’s what’s in it:
You will need tequila, brown sugar, lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder, chicken, and flour tortillas. You will also need Monterey jack cheese or a Mexican blend, green enchilada sauce, salsa verde, and crema.
How to make the marinade:
Mix the tequila, brown sugar, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder in a medium-size bowl until the brown sugar is dissolved.
Place the cooked and shredded chicken in a plastic storage bag or bowl and pour in the marinade. Make sure all of the chicken pieces are saturated. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer the chicken marinates, the better.
When you are ready to bake the enchiladas preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the green enchilada sauce with the salsa verde and crema. Set aside.
Spray a 9×13 baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray. Pour one-half cup of the enchilada sauce mixture into the bottom of the dish and spread out evenly. Set aside.
Drain the chicken and reserve any remaining marinade. Mix the chicken with three cups of the shredded cheese.
Place a heaping one-half cup of the chicken and cheese mixture in the center of a tortilla.
Roll up as tightly as you can. Place the rolled tortillas in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat for the rest of the tortillas. You should be able to fit eight enchiladas in the dish.
If you have leftover marinade, add up to one-half cup to the enchilada sauce mixture you made earlier and stir to combine.
Pour this mixture over the enchiladas and top with the remaining shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the cheese has melted. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
If you can’t find crema or don’t have it, you can substitute sour cream thinned with milk or half-and-half. You can also use heavy cream instead.
You can also substitute honey, pure maple syrup, or corn syrup for the brown sugar.
It’s just my husband and me, so instead of making one large casserole, I usually divide the enchiladas up into several dishes and bake one and freeze the rest. One and a half enchiladas are a good serving for most appetites.
If you do divide the enchiladas up into smaller meals and dishes, they will take less time to bake, so watch them.
Leftovers are even better the next day and can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. I usually heat them in the microwave.
This dish freezes beautifully and should be frozen unbaked. Cover tightly and store in your freezer for up to three months. Before you cook it, allow it to defrost overnight in your fridge and follow the directions for baking.
As you would expect, this is a great make-ahead dish. You can make it up to 24 hours ahead and store in the fridge unbaked. Before baking, take it out about 30 minutes beforehand to allow it to come to room temperature and bake as directed.
Yes, I know authentic enchiladas call for corn tortillas, they are not authentic, they are sort of southern meets Tex-Mex, and I prefer flour tortillas. If you prefer corn, by all means, use them instead.
If you prefer you can substitute about 4 small or 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded for the rotisserie chicken.
Love Mexican or Tex-Mex food? You might also be interested in these other tasty recipes:
- Walking Taco Casserole
- Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas
- Easy Honey Lime Turkey Enchiladas
- Shrimp Quesadillas with Bacon
- Cast-Iron Skillet Macho Nachos
- Ultimate Steak Fajitas
- Jack’s Ultimate Frozen Margaritas
Need more menu ideas or recipes, check out all of my Cinco de Mayo recipes, or this roundup of 30+ Cinco de Mayo Menu Ideas and Recipes.
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give it a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Tequila Lime Chicken Enchiladas Recipes
- 1 rotisserie chicken skin removed and deboned, cut into small pieces.
- ½ cup tequila
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 ½ tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 8-10 flour tortillas 10-inch
- 4 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese or a Mexican blend
- 1 cup green enchilada sauce
- 1 cup jarred salsa verde
- 1 cup Crema Mexican cream
- To begin, mix together the tequila, brown sugar, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder until the brown sugar is dissolved.
- Place the shredded chicken in a plastic storage bag or bowl and pour in the marinade making sure all of the chicken pieces are saturated. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- When you are ready to assemble and cook, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- To begin, mix the green enchilada sauce with the salsa verde and Crema.
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray. Pour ½ cup of the enchilada sauce mixture into the bottom of the dish and spread out.
- Drain the chicken mixture and reserve any remaining marinade. Mix the chicken with 3 cups of the shredded cheese.
- Put a heaping ½-cup of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla and roll up as tightly as you can. Place the rolled tortillas in your baking dish seam side down. Repeat for the rest of the tortillas. You should be able to fit 8 enchiladas in the dish.
- If you have any leftover marinade, mix up to ½ cup with the enchilada sauce you made earlier. Pour this mixture over the enchiladas and top with 1 cup shredded cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the cheese has melted. Let sit for about 5 minutes and serve. Enjoy!
**This recipe was originally published on April 26, 2016. Republished on May 1, 2020, with new photos, a slight change in directions to make it easier, and expanded tips.
Sharon, thank you for the quick response on the chicken enchiladas. Wanted to ask if the flavor is a big WOW or just a simply great!!! I guess I don’t want to overly taste tequila. LOL Hope you understand what I am trying to say.
It’s definitely flavorful, but I don’t feel like you can taste the tequila that much. It really does just give the chicken a sweet/savory flavor.
Hi Sharon, Planning on making this tomorrow for my family. (Cinco de Mayo) I have two grandkids that will be eating this also. I was wondering if the marinade might be a little spicy for them? I don’t want it to be a strong flavor.
Also going to try the Frozen Margaritas!!!
thnaks in advance.
It’s really more sweet than spicy. If you are worried about the tequila, you can use 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup lime juice instead, and leave out the tequila and brown sugar. I hope your family enjoys it! Happy Cinco de Mayo!
All the best,
Sharon, This recipe is SOOOO good. I’ve fixed it many times and always receive compliments. I’m prompted to leave a comment today because I shared it with my Cookbook Club and everyone really loved it. I can’t tell if it’s the tequila, the lime or the combination of the two that make the taste unexpected and yet so delicious for what you’re thinking a enchilada will taste like. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.
Hey Harriet, thank you so much for leaving such a sweet comment! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it!
Made this tonight and it was a solid hit. I too would like to know if you think it would freeze well.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, it does freeze well and because it’s just my husband and me, I almost always divide it in half and cook one casserole and freeze one casserole for later.
All my best,
This is a wonderful dish! I was wondering if it could be frozen and baked later Chicken is marinating as I write this 🙂